Primary News

‘Ah – that’s so clever!’ ‘Ooo!’ ‘I love the colours they have used.’ These are some of the comments that were heard at our recent College Creations which opened in the Living Faith Chapel on Saturday 12 October. Each student from Kindergarten to Year Six had an artwork on display and families were invited to view the works and vote for the ‘People’s Choice Award’. We congratulate the following students who receive this year’s awards:

Upper Primary (Years 4 to 6) – Tynan Abeyewardene
Early Years (Kindy to Year 2) – Hunter Nguyen

Families who visited the exhibition were also able to enter a draw to win an original watercolour painting by Mrs Huffels. The lucky draw for this painting will take place at the end of Week Four so pop into Primary Reception for a ticket if you would like to participate. The display of art included a wide variety of different art forms, including watercolour, assemblage art, sculptures and pencil drawings just to name a few. Visitors were able to wander through the displays and take the time to appreciate the effort, creativity and thought involved in each of the pieces.

Some people do not see the Arts as an important subject area and prefer a strong focus on the traditional academic subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. However, studies conducted around the world indicate that teaching children through a variety of art forms increases their academic ability as well as their creativity. This is because the Arts not only stimulate creative thinking, they also encourage collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and engagement with learning.

The Arts are a very important component of our holistic curriculum at St John’s. We are keenly aware of the fun factor of the Arts and we know that participating in artist activities provides numerous academic and social advantages as well as building cultural awareness. By participating in visual, creative and performing arts, children practise using their imagination and learn skills and forms of awareness that only occur in the Arts. They also learn how to closely observe and develop the ability to appreciate different art forms and the experiences they provide.

To enhance learning through the Arts we teach within the framework of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) which incorporates a variety of subject areas into different units of inquiry and investigation. This links the Arts to other subjects like Science, PE, Mathematics and English where relevant, making learning for the students more engaging and purposeful. We also provide specialist lessons in Music, Speech and Drama, as well as offering extra-curricular lessons in Choir, instrumental bands, dance and speech choir. Our students are very fortunate to have such a wide range of opportunities associated with the Arts.

On Friday 18 October, students involved in all our Performing Arts groups will present a Showcase of entertainment for families and friends in the College Auditorium. The Showcase will commence at 6.00pm and families are most welcome to attend. Dancing, instrumental, choral and voice choir performances will be on show. I look forward to seeing you there.

Innovation Challenge
Another unique program at St John’s that encourages creative thinking, design and problem solving is our annual Innovation Challenge. Several teams of students from both campuses will be showcasing their solutions to problems and pitching their ideas to a panel of external judges. Students have been working on their Innovation projects since early last term and are currently completing presentations and displays that will be exhibited in the foyer of the Performing Arts Auditorium on Wednesday 30 October. Families are most welcome to come along to view the inventions and hear what the students have to say.

Special Incursions
Character Builders
The Year Five students are currently nominating for leadership responsibilities in 2020 and to provide them with further insight into the role of student leadership, the students spent a day with a team from ‘Character Builders’ on Thursday 10 October. They spent a day collaborating with one another and building teamwork skills. It was an excellent day of fun and learning and provided the students with many thought provoking-challenges.

African Beats
The Kindergarten children thoroughly enjoyed the music of our guest drummer from Ghana on Tuesday 15 and Thursday 17 October. The performances were called “Salaka”, which means “Sharing” in Ghana. The students were immersed in the rich culture and rhythms of Africa, in an entertaining and educational way as they shared the joy of the music.

Ocean Life
Year Two students were enthralled by the interesting creatures and information that arrived at school on Wednesday 16 October. The incursion complemented their current unit of inquiry into living things.

Walkathon
Walkathon sponsorship money is due back to school no later than Friday 25 October so that prizes can be organised for those students who have raised significant funds. Pledges can still be made online through the following link: bit.ly/2MftHOf

I sincerely thank all the families who supported this year’s Walkathon initiative and particularly thank the members of the Parents and Friends Association for providing drinks and ice blocks for the children at the conclusion of the event.

Sandra Hawken
Head of Primary